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Anti-anxiety meds found in mall shooter's body

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OMAHA, Nebraska (AP) -- Only an anti-anxiety medication turned up in toxicology tests done on the body of the 19-year-old gunman who fatally wounded eight people before killing himself last month at a shopping mall.

The autopsy report on Robert Hawkins revealed diazepam in his system. The tranquilizer is better known by its market name, Valium.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine told the Omaha World-Herald in a copyright story Tuesday that authorities sometimes "see people who have abused drugs or alcohol to give them the ability to carry out their misdeed."

"In this case, it doesn't appear he had abused either," he said.

The teen's blood revealed only therapeutic levels of the medication.

The autopsy report also said Hawkins killed himself December 5 by a single shot from his assault rifle from under his chin.

Before committing suicide, Hawkins went into the Von Maur store at Westroads Mall and took an elevator up to the third floor. There he opened fire, fatally wounding eight people. Five other people were hit by bullets or bullet fragments, injuring two seriously.

Investigators will try to find out whether Hawkins had a prescription for the Valium, Kleine said.

Diazepam is often given to people who have anxiety attacks or insomnia, said Dr. Todd Stull, director of the University of Nebraska Medical Center's drug and alcohol program.

"It's a calming kind of medicine," Stull said. "A lower dose can help with anxiety."

People can get high on it, he said, but "it's not a very common addiction."

Court records and friends say Hawkins regularly smoked marijuana, but Kleine said there was no evidence of it or any other drugs in his blood.


Doctors generally don't just whip off rx's for Valium like it was an antibiotic. Its more of the 'calm down right now' pill and is usually used in conjunction with an anti depressant. I'll go out on a limb here and guess he didn't have scripts or if he did wasn't following the rx the way he was meant to, prolly no funds for the scripts.

This guy was an occasional toker but didn't have much in his system. Maybe if the bastard was sittin home smokin pot and eatin cheetoes nobody woulda had to get shot that day. A lot of ppl will often try to self medicate their anxiety/depression with booze and drugs. Sometimes it works even if its only temporary.


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They have it wrong, I'm betting he didn't use it for anxiety. Its a rip on the Metal Gear Solid games. Diazepam can be used to relax automatic muscle movement. Basically he took some valium to increase his sniper style shooting accuracy.


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